A lightweight window manager based on Ubuntu and openbox window manager.



For the installation you need a internet connection.

  1. Install Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server or newer.
  2. Download vmopenbox.tar.gz and copy it to your computer.
  3. Unpack vmopenbox.tar.gz:

    tar xvfzp vmopenbox.tar.gz

  4. Install vmopenbox:

    sudo vmopenbox/install.sh

  5. After installation reboot your computer

The installation bash script "install.sh" install the GUI basics (X11 and openbox) and the tools, like task panel, dock, etc.

During the installation you must select the display manager. Choose "lxdm":

Then you have to confirm a EULA:


After reboot, you have a graphical login. Login with your user name and password.

Configure Desktop

Configure Locales

Generate a system locale for the region you need. Run in terminal:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
Select the locale that you want to be enabled and press OK:

Configure Dock

openox use wbar as dock panel.
To config wbar click the icon configbwar in the wbar dock. Edit, delete or insert a new application in the settings dialog select icons and text.


Configure Panel

vmopenbox use tint2 as task panel.
To config tint2 click the icon configtint2 on the left side from the tint2 panel.
Now you see two dialogs: "Tint2 panel themes" and "Properties". With "Tint2 panel themes" you can choose different themes for tint2.
With the "Properties" dialog you select the position for tint2 on the screen or select applications you can start with tint2.

Configure date and time view: click "Clock" to configure the view from this widget.
Parameters are: %H = hour (00-23), %M = minutes (00-60), %d = day of month, %m = Month (01-12), %y = last two digits of year, %Y = year, %u = day of week, %b = mont name.
Dialog Properties

Configure Wallpaper

vmopenbox use nitrogen to show wallpapers.
To change the wallpaper, overwrite the file


with a new picture in format jpeg and login again. Or change the filename in

.config/openbox/autostart section nitrogen

Configure desktop items

vmopenbox use idesk to create deskop items. Create or edit desktop icons:

  1. Open the file


  2. Edit the entries: Exec, Icon, Name, Comment.
  3. Save the new file in your home folder under


  4. Login again.

Conten from file example.desktop:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=Your application
Icon=Your icon
Name=Icon name

Configure screensaver

vmopenbox use xscreensaver as screensaver. After login you see for a few seconds the xcreensaver dialog. Click the button "Settings". After this yous see the config dialog from xscreensaver


Configure network

vmopenbox use Gnome network manager to manage the network. Click the icon network-manager on the right side from the panel to start the network manager. You see all available networks from your computer.

network settings

Configure soundcard

vmopenbox use pavucontrol to manage the soundcard. You see the icon on the left side of the panel pavucontrol Click the left button on the icon to start pavucontrol. Now you can configure your output and input devices.
pavucontrol settings

Configure autostart

On login, openbox start some applications like wbar or tint2. Edit the file


to insert the desired applications.
Content from file autostart:

tint2 & volti & xscreensaver & pcmanfm --daemon-mode & nitrogen --set-auto Wallpaper/wallpaper.jpg mate-power-manager & idesk &

The ambersand ("&") after a file name is to start a programm as a process in the background. You see all the descriped applications.

pcmanfm --daemon-mode

is needed by pcmanfm to recognize usb devices.


monitors the energy status.

Add new user

Open a shell and add a new user with this command:

adduser USERNAME
sh /vmopenbox/adduseropenbox.sh USERNAME

The first command adduser create the user on the system. The command adduseropenbox.sh add the user to some groups, needed by tint2, volti.

GUI applications

myopbenbox comes with the file manager pcmanfm, text editor mousepad, image viewer gpicview, PDF viewer qpdfview, Office suite LibreOffice, Browser Firefox and Chromium and for virtualization VirtualBox.



Touchpad on/off: I use vmopenbox on a notebook. Sometimes I turn the touchpad off. On the left side in the panel I have configured a icon "touchpad". The first click turn the touchpad off. A click again turn the touchpad on. In the background I remove or insert the module "psmouse". The icon "touchpad" starts the script /opt/vmopenbox/touchpad.sh. In the future I want to find a better solution.

Contact us info@vmfree.org